Marital bliss is worth more than you think

I’ve spent my life trying to make women happy, from my mother to my wife to my four daughters to my dog. But I don’t think I was very successful.

Sometimes I felt like Sisyphus, always pushing that boulder up the hill only to have it come crashing back down on me. O tempora, o mores! Cicero said that or perhaps it was Homer … Homer Simpson.

Maybe I tried too hard. Maybe I didn’t try hard enough or maybe I was simply cursed, like Sigmund Freud before me, to not understand what women want.

Mom, wherever you are, I’ll say some extra prayers. As for my daughters, their husbands can take over now. And I think the dog may come around if I give her a few extra treats. That leaves my wife, whose case requires cautious examination in light of recent studies on marital bliss.

Researchers at Rutgers University and the University of Michigan found that when a wife is happy in a long-term marriage, so is her husband — even if he isn’t prone to be happy. The study examined couples married an average of 39 years, and while there aren’t too many of them around, they managed to find 394 with at least one spouse older than 60.

After analyzing data about health and disability, they determined that the quality of a marriage and happiness in older adults were related. Rutgers professor Deborah Carr said, “When a wife is satisfied with the marriage, she tends to do a lot more for her husband.” (I have to write that quote down.)

She concluded, “The association between a husband’s marital quality and life satisfaction is buoyed when his wife also reports a happy marriage, yet flattened when his wife reports low marital quality.” I could have told you that, and my only qualification is a wedding ring, not a Ph.D.

Other studies suggest that a happy marriage can cut the risk of cardiovascular disease, which would save billions in health-care costs, when you consider heart disease is the number one killer in America.

I’m convinced that gifts and flowers won’t ensure happiness. Yard work and home improvement projects help, but I hate leaf blowers and lawn mowers. I suppose I can clean off my nightstand as a goodwill gesture, but that pile of books near my bed gives me a sense of security in an uncertain and troubled world.

All too often, husbands don’t care enough about making their wives happy. If they did, they’d contribute more to the household, they’d volunteer to see every Nicholas Sparks movie (there are several thousand), they’d cook dinner occasionally and do the dishes rather than leaving them in the sink, and they’d go to ceramics and/or yoga class instead of watching Monday Night Football.

So, men of America, lend me your ears. (Shakespeare said that … or maybe it was Lady Gaga.)

Science proves that we have to work harder to make our womenfolk happy so that we can be happy, too. Up until now, most of us concentrated solely on making ourselves happy, and that’s counterproductive, because unhappy women lead to unhappy societies.

Throughout history, ever since God invented guys, male insensitivity has tarnished civilization. It started when Adam tried to blame Eve for eating that apple. Unfortunately, this predicament has reached crisis proportions. Do you realize that women are increasingly turning to dogs for companionship? Have you seen those best sellers with titles like Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog and You Had Me at Woof and Bark If You Love Me?

I’m convinced if God had to do it all over again, he’d create woman and then he’d create her faithful and loyal companion — dog. Lastly, he’d create man as a servant for dog and give him a pooper scooper.

Guys, a small investment will pay off. Women don’t demand much, so let’s try to give a little and we’ll get a lot in return. Science says so. Plus, you’ll be a better man, and the results will be obvious in your next EKG.

Joe Pisani may be reached at